BOB: San Jose sues MLBby Brian Borawski
June 26, 2013
San Jose sues MLB over Athletics moveThe city of San Jose has grown impatient with MLB’s snail-like pace in allowing the Oakland Athletics to relocate to San Jose, and they’ve filed a lawsuit challenging baseball antitrust exemption. More specifically, baseball’s territorial rights are being brought into question as the Athletics have been prevented from moving to San Jose because the city is in the San Francisco Giants' territory.
With the lawsuit, a line in the sand has been drawn, and it’s a last-ditch effort by San Jose. It’s a desperate move, so the city must have felt that nothing would be resolved anytime soon. And it’s also literally biting the hand that feeds you because you’re basically attacking the entity—that is, MLB—that ultimately determines the fate of the whole stadium situation.
With that, the lawsuit could get messy. I don’t think it has much of a chance of success, but it will bring MLB’s antitrust exemption to the forefront, which is publicity the league doesn’t want. It also might force MLB to reveal details in legal proceedings that they’d rather keep secret. For now, the Athletics are sitting this out, and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this most likely long, drawn-out legal battle goes.
Rays owner resigns himself to current stadium leaseTampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg recently was interviewed and when questioned, he was pretty somber about the Tampa Bay Rays stadium situation. He basically said the team wasn’t going anywhere soon because the team is locked into its lease through 2027, but he did say he feels better about the situation after having repeated discussions with St. Petersburg’s mayor.
Sternberg added that if a new stadium isn’t in the works soon, he might have to sell the team. He even goes as far as stating that the team receives a lot of revenue sharing money, and they conclude the interview with a discussion of Montreal and its future to field a team.
Mesa brings in help to get spring training stadium on trackThe Mesa City Council approved the hiring of a construction firm to provide input on aspects of the spring training facility project and on the procurement of five hydrotherapy tanks for the complex. W.E. O’Neil Construction was hired to take on the job, and the goal is to move the Oakland Athletics into the new complex for the 2015 spring training season.
Attendance UpdateWe’re getting close to the end of the first half of the season, and as it stands, the National League is dominating the top of the attendance list.
The Los Angeles Dodgers still sit on top with an average attendance of 43,022. Behind them in second are the San Francisco Giants with 41,660 tickets sold per game. St. Louis is number three, and the top American League team is the New York Yankees with 39,580 tickets sold per game. The Philadelphia Phillies round out the top five.
On the road, the top two team are flipped, with the Giants being the top road draw and the Dodgers coming in at number two. The top six road teams are NL squads, and then the Boston Red Sox come in at number seven as the top AL team.
The Miami Marlins are at the bottom with 17,337 tickets sold per game, and right behind them are the cross-state Rays with 17,738. The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners round out the bottom five. Twenty-one teams are on pace to draw more than two million fans, and six teams are on pace to draw three million.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.